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Maharashtra government has spent just Rs 23.82 crores of the CM’s Rs 342 crore coronavirus relief fund for COVID-19 related measures, RTI query reveals

"The Maharashtra government has spent just a meagre 7% of the total deposits on COVID-19 fund on health care. While 16 per cent of the fund was spent on migrant labourers to meet railway fares and 0.23 per cent was spent on the deceased in the railway accident", said Anil Galgali, the RTI activist.

Information received under RTI has reportedly revealed that the Maharashtra chief minister’s coronavirus relief fund had received Rs 342.01 crore as of May 18. However, so far the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra has only utilised Rs 23.82 crore of the total funds in the COVID-19 related arrangements.

Mumbai based RTI activist Anil Galgali had filed an RTI seeking information about the funds received and spent on the state’s fight against the coronavirus. As per the response received, a total amount of Rs 342.01 crore has been deposited till May 18, 2020, while Rs 79.82 crore were spent from this fund out of which only Rs 23.82 crore were used in COVID-19 related measures.

Milind Kabadi, assistant accountant officer of CM Relief Fund, who furnished the response to the RTI filed by Galgali also provided the split-up of the Rs 23.82 crore spent to battle the coronavirus in the RTI response. As per the reply, Rs 20 crore was allotted to St Georges Hospital in Mumbai and Rs 3,82,50,000 was given to the Department of Medical Education.

Besides, a major portion of the total amount spent by the Maharashtra government is towards sending the migrant labourers back to their native villages. About Rs 53.45 crore has been transferred by the state government to collectors of 36 districts in order to enable them to pay the railway fare for transporting the migrants. Furthermore, Rs 1.30 crore was paid as fare for migrant labourers from Ratnagiri district while Rs 44.40 lakhs were spent on transporting migrant workers in Sangli district back to their native places.

The RTI response further states that Rs 80 lakh was given as monetary compensation to the next of kin of the 16 deceased labourers who lost their lives in a tragic rail accident in Aurangabad.

“The Maharashtra government has spent just a meagre 7% of the total deposits on COVID 19 fund on health care. While 16 per cent of the fund was spent on migrant labourers to meet railway fares and 0.23 per cent was spent on the deceased in the railway accident. I have written it the state CM Uddhav Thackeray & requested him to use COVID19 fund to improve the health care services,” said Galgali.

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